Self-care is an integral part of overall health, happiness, and success. Often, we make time to go to the gym to maintain our physical health but we neglect to take the time needed to maintain our mental health. YMCA YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES June Carrington, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Katie Demmler, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, offer 7 simple activities you can practice to maintain a healthy and happy mind.

1. Learn stress reduction techniques. Finding ways to manage stress is vital to maintaining mental health. If you have trouble relaxing after a long day at work, try meditation or yoga. If you have trouble fighting traffic, try listening to classical music. Other techniques include journaling, exercising, coloring, etc.

2. Know when to say "no". Our lives are busier than ever, filled with family, work, school, and countless other activities. It's okay to take a break when you need one.

3. Practice self-compassion. Show yourself grace when you make a mistake and remember that no one is perfect. Reframe your error as a lesson learned.

4. Maintain your physical health. Physical fitness plays a large role in mental health. It's important to take the time to exercise, plan for healthy balanced meals and get the right amount of sleep for your age and body type.

5. Build supportive relationships. Your mental wellness can be significantly improved through developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Friends and family can provide much-needed support, laughter, meaningful conversation, or even a different perspective.

6. Understand anger and learn to let go. Anger is a completely normal emotion but letting it build up will affect your overall health and emotional stability. Use appropriate outlets to vent if needed. Learn to walk away from situations you know will upset you and re-approach them once you've calmed down.

7. Make fun a priority. Spend time laughing, playing and doing something you enjoy.You'll be able to care for others better when you've taken good care of yourself.

June Carrington, LMFT 53893, oversees Counseling Services for YMCA YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES. She has over ten years of experience working in the mental health field in a variety of settings and is passionate about increasing wellness in San Diego. For more information about Counseling Services or to schedule a confidential session, please contact us at 619-281-8313 or email us at [email protected].

Katie Demmler, LCSW 27751, oversees the Behavioral Health & Family Support Department for YMCA YOUTH & FAMILY SERVICES. Experienced with both mental health and social service programs, her primary goal is to help those in need overcome social, emotional and behavior problems. For more information about other services available, visit our website at www.ymca.org/yfs.